FROM THE PASTOR
all saints day
All Saints Day. All Saints observation. Celebrating All Saints. This is not something to do with the Roman Catholic Church; neither is it about a few saints who have been canonised by a church. It is not about a few who wrote some New Testament books we sometimes refer to as St Peter, St Paul, and so on. All Saints is about all Saints – all of them, it’s about you and me as a saved sinner. A saint is nothing more than a saved sinner. A sinner who is declared ‘forgiven’ and made right all because of Jesus Christ – you and me – Luther put it well in saying: as Christians, we are simul justus et peccator “simultaneously justified and sinner.”
Why observe this day, light a candle, have a prayer, etc? Some things need to be said first: we don’t invoke the name of a Saint, we don’t worship or pray to Saints. Saints who have died and gone to heaven before us, don’t save or help us escape from the troubles, and sufferings in this life. We don’t trust in their works or merits; but trust and have faith in Christ alone. The day is simply there for us to remember a loved one who died in the faith, and give thanks to God for the gifts given to us through them.
Observing this day is an OK thing to do because those who have died in the Christian faith have been, “…recipients of God’s grace…, have been examples of divine mercy and faith…, it strengthens our faith when we see sins forgiven, such as Peter’s denial, and that grace abounds more than sin… (paraphrase from the Book of Concord, Apology of the Augsburg Confessions, Article XX1, page 229-230, Tappert, Fortress Press, 1959). Saints should be honoured, and the day is not to be overdone, misused and misapplied like it has been done, especially around the time of the (Lutheran) reformation.
Also, the following is a direct quote from the LCA&NZ Worship resources:
“The custom of commemorating all of the martyrs of the church on a single day goes back at least to the third century. In modern practice, All Saints' Day commemorates not only all the martyrs but all the people of God, living and dead, who form the mystical body of Christ. The feast is, in effect, a feast of the church.” (Contemporary Worship 6: The Church Year, Calendar and Lectionary, 1973)
More broadly: what is a Saint? They are:
believers – in Christ Jesus (2 Th.1:10); are called – (Rom.1:7); have faith and salvation – (Jude 1.3); are inheritors – (Col.1:11-12); members of God’s household – (Eph.2.19-20); are made holy – (1 Cor 1.2); are living – (Acts 9:32); are from everywhere – (Rev 5:9)
What do Saints do? The sinner-Saint:
love the Lord – (Ps.31:23) "Love the LORD, all you his saints."
love one another – (Eph.1:15 ) "I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints....“
serve the Church – (Heb.6:10) "For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints…."
call on Jesus – (1 Cor.1.2) as they were "called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours...."
have values – (Eph.5:3) "But fornication and impurity of any kind, or greed, must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints."
have a ministry – (Eph.4:12) "to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ...."
welcome and help others – (Rom.16:1-2) "I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae, so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you…."
We don’t observe this day because it’s a nice and lovely thing to do. Neither do we light a candle “only to remember”, we don’t sing a song because of a warm feeling it gives, we don’t observe this day out of piety, or for whatever other reason you may think of. We observe this day to give thanks to God. I give thanks to God, for people like my father, and him passing the Christian faith on to me. I give thanks to God for people who encouraged me in the faith when growing up and today. Perhaps you might like to fill in the blank with a name, or names meaningful to you that grew and encouraged you in faith, now living, or who have died and gone to heaven: “I thank you God for _ _ _ _ _ _ _ . Amen.”.
In Christ, Pastor Mat.
We Pray For:
† The church, that it continues to treasure and proclaim the gospel as God’s life-giving good news, that is continually praises God for his greatness and mercy, and prays for all to hear this amazing message.
† The church and its missions to the lost in the local community, to specific groups (e.g. blind, deaf, youth, elderly, disabled, young mums, sports groups), and abroad.
† The services that provide support for families, particularly women and
children (government family services, shelters, immunisation clinics, FACS).
† The services to the physically impaired (blind, deaf, disabled).
† All women with child, for those who don’t have children, those children born early or with problems, teenage girls who are pregnant, victims of sexual assault, women who have had or who are contemplating abortion.
† Those who are blind, deaf or physically disabled.